Stephanie Fender: Hi everyone, thanks for joining us. My name is Stephanie Fender, with Coveros. I am the senior training sales manager, and I work with clients and our team members to deliver successful training engagements.
Mike Sowers: Hey, everyone. I’m Mike Sowers. I’m the Executive Vice President here at Coveros, and I lead both our consulting as well as our training lines of business. Great to be with you today, Stephanie.
Stephanie Fender: Thanks for joining. So Mike, tell us what a learning journey is.
Mike Sowers: Sure. I think about learning journeys as learning experiences. They’re combinations of courses, hands-on workshops, and mentoring and coaching. They really accelerate skill development by providing class participants with a series of related training experiences. If you think about a learning journey, it can be customized based on the needs of the organization. And its goal is to help organizations accelerate a series of learning experiences, or you can spread out that learning over time.
Is training not enough anymore?
Stephanie Fender: So, why are we creating these these learning paths and these learning journeys for our clients. Is training not enough anymore?
Mike Sowers: Yeah, you’re right on it. You you hit the nail right on the head, and I think many organizations are realizing that. There are really many reasons why these learning journey journeys are more effective, but two key reasons are that many training organizations and trainers, or those are internal or external, focus on individual training courses. That leads to a lack of a roadmap to success for particular roles. I mean, all of us want to know where we’re headed from a career perspective, and so we want to know what learning and what training we need and core competencies we need to develop to get there.
Many studies have also shown that if we take a training course, within 24 hours of taking that training course, we forget 70% of what we learned. So training is great for introducing practices and concepts. However, a significant amount of knowledge gained during a training course is lost quickly if that training is not immediately coupled with hands-on use of those practices that were introduced. And ideally that hands-on use for those practices is coupled, or aligned, with real world projects and is performed in the presence of a subject matter expert. So what we like to do is a little bit of training, and then some hands-on practice, and then some mentor-coaching.
Stephanie Fender: So they’re actually working on real projects while they’re being coached and mentored after they’ve learned from training?
Mike Sowers: Exactly right. And, and as you know, and perhaps our audience has seen as well, corporate learning initiatives can struggle without defining these training paths for individuals and teams over time. So these defined learning paths actually help us create a more structured learning experience, where we have learning and then feedback becomes continuous. This fosters what we’re all driving for from an agile and DevOps perspective, that is a learning culture within the organization.
“This fosters what we’re all driving for from an agile and DevOps perspective, that is a learning culture within the organization.”
Stephanie Fender: So who can benefit from these learning paths and learning journeys? Is this an individual approach, or for teams, or enterprises? Dive deeper into that for us.
Mike Sowers: You’ve you’ve you’ve touched on all the right people that would benefit from from this. To remain competitive nearly all organizations are implementing transformation initiatives they want to move their organization, their people, their processes, their technology, from their current capability to some future desired state or capability. All while still making sure that they meet the needs of their customer, that they deliver on time, and they deliver those quality levels.
What learning journeys do and our paved paths do is they benefit enterprises, they benefit line of business leaders, teams, teams of teams, and more. They allow them to quickly move the needle on learning new skills, and then ratcheting up the existing core competencies.
We’ve configured several learning paths for testing roles, for developer roles, security and automation roles. Many organizations are moving rapidly to embrace automation today and so they’d like their people that were involved in manual testing to embrace automation, or to move from product or project role into a scrum master, or an agile engineer to a DevOps engineer, and so forth.
Stephanie Fender: Okay, I know we are not going to name the client, but can you give us an example of where and how this approach worked at a client site?
Mike Sowers: Sure. We recently worked with a line of business leader at a large international bank. We tailored and implemented a learning journey for their DevOps transformation effort. This learning journey included our Foundation of DevOps course, and then it was followed by hands-on learning on specific DevOps tools such as Kubernetes and Jenkins. We then embedded our mentors and coaches into that DevOps team to help them then onboard new application components onto the banks CI/CD, continuous integration and continuous delivery, pipeline.
A very fascinating result. We actually reduced the code delivery time from about four weeks to less than four hours. So that’s a real concrete example of how we can work with an enterprise and work with a line of business leader to tailor these learning journeys and then significantly move the needle on core competencies.
“We actually reduced the code delivery time from about four weeks to less than four hours…a real concrete example of how we can work with an enterprise and work with a line of business leader to tailor these learning journeys and then significantly move the needle on core competencies.”
A key challenge in a organizations today is implementing this continuous learning culture. Some believe that a choice has to be made between either delivering value to your client or investing in learning and improvement. They think it’s a trade off—you can do one or the other. Well, that just doesn’t work in today’s competitive environment. We have to invest in both.
Technology continues to change and advance and therefore so must our team members core competencies. To help organizations learn while they continue to deliver, we’ve designed a few flexible approaches. We can leverage those approaches through the way that we deliver training—either on-site, virtually, through preconference training, or some blend of those.
We can also then work with the teams on what we call learning sprints. These allow teams during their planning stage to allocate some time for training, or they can take points from their project sprint and allocate those to learning. So the idea here is to get a little bit of training either right at the front end of your sprint or to do learning during the sprint.
Our our third approach is to embed and pair our Coveros engineers and coaches and consultants with the teams while they carry out their everyday work. So you’ve either got Coveros engineers that are doing hands-on work with one or more other individuals, or stepping back and observing them working and then doing some mentor coaching in regard to that work.
And so with all of these, the benefit of this approach to learning is learning by doing and still meeting our customers needs. These strategies benefit the company and the teams by helping to avoid core competencies stagnation or burnout, while still instilling a learning culture. All while continuing to meet those delivery commitments. Essentially, it’s integrated learning.
“These strategies benefit the company and the teams by helping to avoid core competencies stagnation or burnout, while still instilling a learning culture. All while continuing to meet those delivery commitments.”
Stephanie Fender: So, how does someone get started? How can we tell our our clients and our customers to get started? I know that they can reach out to me for more information, but what is your recommendation?
Mike Sowers: Yeah, my number one recommendation of course is is to reach out to experts and learning specialists like yourself, and really have a conversation because every organization is different. Every team is different. Your goals, your strategies, where you are in your transformation journey is different. And so it’s not a one-size-fits-all program. We really want to to tailor and customize the plan to that individual enterprise, organization, or teams of teams’ needs. So you know, number one for me would be to speak to someone like yourself, Stephanie. Short of that, you can also visit our website so you can get a better idea of what we have available, and then pick up the phone and make the call.
Stephanie Fender: I can’t thank you enough for your time today, Mike. This was extremely helpful for myself and I hope for our clients too. And just to remind everyone, I am more than happy to help guide you through a learning path or a learning journey.
Mike Sowers: Awesome. Great to be with you too, Stephanie, and I’m excited to have these learning journeys where we can meet people where they are and integrate learning with getting their work done.